Study links SSRI use to dangerous pregnancy complication

Recent studies have shown that some types of antidepressants increase the risk for birth defects when mothers take them while pregnant. But new studies suggest that the medication may also cause problems with the pregnancy itself.

The new study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that pregnant women who use antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have a slightly higher risk of developing dangerously high blood pressure, a condition known as preeclampsia that can be harmful for both mother and the unborn child.

SSRIs are among the most prescribed medications in the United States, and include the brand names Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Prozac. Of the estimated 20 percent of women who experience depression during pregnancy, between four and 14 percent take antidepressants.

Canadian researchers used data from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry, and identified more than 1,200 women who had high blood pressure during pregnancy that did or did not result in preeclampsia and who had no history of high blood pressure before becoming pregnant. These women were compared with more than 12,000 healthy women. Researchers found that women who took SSRIs had a 60 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

Recent studies have linked SSRI use during pregnancy with autism and learning disabilities, as well as birth defects of the heart, lungs, spinal cord, and brain. The drugs have also been associated with delayed head growth of the fetus.

Researchers say that women who suffer from depression should discuss with their doctors the risks and benefits of using SSRIs during pregnancy.

Source: Medical Xpress